Thursday 21 June 2018

Harvey Weinstein indicted by grand jury in New York rape case

Manhattan DA said Weinstein was brought ‘another step closer to accountability’ by the indictment.

The film producer was charged last Friday on two counts of rape and one of a criminal sexual act for alleged incidents involving two separate women (Steven Hirsch/AP)
The film producer was charged last Friday on two counts of rape and one of a criminal sexual act for alleged incidents involving two separate women (Steven Hirsch/AP)

By Press Association Reporters

Harvey Weinstein has been indicted on rape and criminal sex act charges.

The film producer was brought “another step closer to accountability” by the indictment, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said as he made the announcement.

It comes hours after a statement issued through a spokesman said Weinstein would not testify before the grand jury over sex charges on the advice of his lawyers.

The film producer was charged last Friday on two counts of rape and one of a criminal sexual act for alleged incidents involving two separate women.

Weinstein was due to face the grand jury – the panel convened by the Manhattan District Attorney.

They say the former movie mogul did not have enough time to prepare to testify, and that he only learned on Friday of the identities of the two women relating to the charges.

A statement from the Manhattan DA announcing the grand jury indictment said: ““A grand jury has voted to indict Harvey Weinstein on charges of rape in the first and third Degrees, and Criminal Sexual Act in the first degree.

“This indictment brings the defendant another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged.

“Our office will try this case not in the press, but in the courtroom where it belongs. The defendant’s recent assault on the integrity of the survivors and the legal process is predictable. We are confident that when the jury hears the evidence, it will reject these attacks out of hand.”

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Harvey Weinstein was arraigned on rape and other charges (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

A statement issued on behalf of Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman said: “After being unfairly denied access to critical information about this case that was needed to defend him before the grand jury, Mr Weinstein’s attorneys decided there was not sufficient time to properly prepare Mr Weinstein.

“The identities of the accusers and the specific charges were provided to Mr Weinstein last Friday on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend and a deadline for his appearance set for Wednesday, 2pm.

“Our request for a postponement of his appearance before the grand jury was denied.

“Accordingly, Mr Brafman will inform the District Attorney today that Mr Weinstein intends to follow the advice of his attorneys and not testify before the grand jury.”

The statement continued: “Not having access to these materials is particularly troubling in this case, where one of the unsupported allegations is more than 14 years old and the rape allegation involves a woman with whom Mr Weinstein shared a 10-year consensual sexual relationship that continued for years after the alleged incident in 2013.

“Finally, Mr Weinstein’s attorneys noted that regardless of how compelling Mr Weinstein’s personal testimony might be, an indictment was inevitable due to the unfair political pressure being placed on Cy Vance to secure a conviction of Mr Weinstein.”

Weinstein, 66, was in court on Friday in New York in his first public appearance since facing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

He posted a one million dollar (£751,060) cash bail and agreed to wear an electronic monitor which tracks his movements 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

He also surrendered his passport and agreed to stay within the states of New York and Connecticut.

Weinstein, who has repeatedly denied allegations of non-consensual sex, intends to plead not guilty to the charges, Mr Brafman said outside court.

In a statement responding to the indictment, MR Brafman said: “The announcement of Mr. Weinstein’s indictment, does not come as a surprise.

“Indeed, it was predicted by me this morning in an earlier statement we issued. We also note of course that the indictment merely mirrors the same charges in the criminal court Complaint and does not add anything to the case we did not already know.

“We asked the District Attorney for more time so that Mr Weinstein’s attorneys could gather the material needed to properly prepare him for his grand jury testimony but that request was denied.

“We remind everyone that an indictment is merely a formal accusation. Mr Weinstein intends to enter a plea of Not Guilty and vigorously defend against these unsupported allegations that he strongly denies.

“We will soon formally move to dismiss the indictment and if this case actually proceeds to trial, we expect Mr Weinstein to be acquitted.”

Press Association

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